Oregon police believe a 15-year-old girl reported missing last week might be with a 23-year-old already being investigated for sexually abusing her.
According to KATU, Annieka Vaughan was reported missing from her Aloha home on October 30.
During their investigation, Washington County sheriff’s deputies say they discovered Washington native Zachary Petersen’s pickup truck Monday in Portland’s Forest Park. Vaughan’s backpack was reportedly inside the vehicle.
The same evening, police received a report of voices in a wooded area about a mile from where Peterson’s truck was found.
Authorities have not determined whether the report was related to Vaughan’s disappearance and did not find anything suspicious when they conducted an initial search with K-9 officers and an air search using thermal imaging.
KGW reported that a search and rescue team found two bodies along a trail in the park Wednsesday morning, though. The remains were positioned so that they could not be easily seen from the trail, police say.
The bodies have not yet been identified, pending the results of autopsies set to be made public later this week.
The teen’s disappearance is not being treated as a kidnapping and no Amber Alert has been issued because she is believed to have left her home voluntarily.
Vaughan’s father made a plea for his daughter to similarly return on her own volition.
“I need her to know that people care about her and it’s not about getting in trouble once we get here,” he said.
— Lashay Wesley (@LashayKATU) November 8, 2017
Speaking directly to his daughter, Rick Vaughan said, “You’ve got a lot of people that love you and care about you, people that you don’t even know are supporting you and want to see you back.”
Authorities are asking for the public’s help locating both Vaughan and Petersen.
The teen stands about 5 foot 9 inches and weighs 105 pounds, police say. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
Petersen is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs 150 pounds, also with brown hair and eyes.
Anyone with information on their whereabouts is encouraged to call 503-629-0111.
[Featured image: Washington County Sheriff’s Office]